Building an Alternate Index Infographic

There is no single way to create an infographic.  Styles depend greatly on the content, audience and purpose.

Today’s post is the first in a longer series focused on practical data visualization.  Each post will cover a different style of visualization that attempts to solve a specific problem.

You have many audiences

Funders, politicians, researchers, students, parents, employees, etc., etc., etc.  We write for lots of people, but so often we only write one thing.

200 page report for 50 audience cartoon by Chris Lysy

The way we read

How often do you read a report from start to finish?  That might be how you write one, but how do you read one that way?  So often we flip until we find something relevant, then maybe we go back for more.
Start at Page 47 Cartoon by Chris Lysy

A change in strategy

When releasing a pdf, most researchers and evaluators send everyone to page one.  But why?

You know your audiences.  Some people want the bottom line, some people want to know about a specific state and some people want to actually start on page one.  Why not tailor your strategy to give them what they want, or rather what they would actually read.

Changing Long Report Strategy Doodle by Chris Lysy

Prototype: Alternate Index Infographic

Here’s a prototype  [pdf] of something I call an Alternate Index Infographic.  I think lots of smaller reports is the future, but the present is still about one big report.   This type of infographic can be easily altered, creating different visual indexes for different audiences.

It’s a pdf where the individual images are hyperlinked, creating an interactive infographic.  The main version links to different pieces of the World Bank annual report website.

I created an alternate version that links to specific pages in an online hosted pdf.  It’s a little bit more temperamental but potentially viable in situations where creating an html version of a report is not viable.

Live Prototype link Alternate Index Infographic by Chris Lysy

Further applications

This kind of approach can be used for more than just reports.  Why send your audience to a home page if you can send to the specific web pages they would care about?  You could also tie together resources from multiple sites.

I’m creating a set of step by step instructions for all of the visuals in this series.  If you’re one of my patrons you’ll see it soon.  If not, this will be part of a greater workshop I’m in the process of building.


  1. Lisa Richardson on September 10, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Great idea Chris.
    Have you tried this out for a live report or is this in the idea stage?

    • Chris Lysy on September 11, 2014 at 6:31 am

      Thanks Lisa 🙂
      I’ve used the basic approach but didn’t have anything public/live to share.
      It’s really pretty easy to create something like this. The prototype I shared here was created using, which is free.